Leaders and officials from the eight South Asian nations have held a video conference calling for closer cooperation to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the region, which is home to a fifth of the world’s populationMarch 15, 2020, 2:07 PM2 min readNEW DELHI — Leaders and officials from the eight South Asian nations held a video conference Sunday calling for closer cooperation to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the region, which is home to a fifth of the world’s population. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who initiated the conference, proposed creating a COVID-19 emergency fund to be used by South Asian nations to combat the spread of the disease. Presidents and prime ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, and a representative from Pakistan, shared steps taken by their governments in their efforts to control the spread of the virus. Pakistan was represented by Zafar Mirza, a special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan. The eight nations are members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, which was formed in the 1980s to boost economic and regional cooperation between the countries. However, the rivalry and disputes between India


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